Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major Professor

Thomas N. Turner

Committee Members

C. Glenna Rowell, Alfred D. Grant, Allison Earnst


The purpose of this dissertation was to determine what, if any, effect storytelling as a method of teaching has on retention of information. More specifically, this work was designed to determine if storytelling is more effective than a more traditional lecture method in influencing student recall of lesson content. In the Spring Semester of 1994, experiments were conducted to test the following hypothesis: College Students who receive instruction in a storytelling fashion will demonstrate significantly greater recall of instructional content than students who receive the same instruction in a more traditional lecture method.

One hundred fourteen students were randomly selected from undergraduate college courses in Instructional Media and Technology. After reading and signing letters of consent, students were randomly assigned to either a control or experimental group. Both groups were first pretested, then taught the same material in different fashions. The control group was instructed with the lecture method, while the experimental group was given the same content by means of a storytelling method. Recall of the instructional content was then tested in three posttests: one given immediately following instruction; the second and third tests three and five weeks following. A t-test was performed on test scores of the control and experimental groups. All t-test scores showed statistically significant gains in recall by the experimental group over the group that received instruction by the lecture method.

The null hypothesis was rejected. This study indicates that, for the population described in the experiment, instruction in a storytelling fashion can make a positive difference in the recall of instructional material.

Implications of this conclusion are discussed for three groups: Educational Researchers, Writers and Producers of Curriculum Materials, and Classroom Teachers.

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